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Health Information For Parents
Lead poisoning happens when too much lead gets into the body through the skin or from breathing, eating, or drinking. When lead gets in the body, it can travel and cause harm wherever it ends up.
Lead is toxic to everyone, but unborn babies and young children (6 months to 3 years) are at greatest risk for health problems from lead poisoning. Young children absorb lead more easily than older kids and adults, and lead is more harmful to them.
Kids at risk for lead poisoning include those who:
Lead can harm production of blood cells and the absorption of calcium needed for strong bones and teeth, muscle movements, and the work of nerves and blood vessels.
High lead levels can cause brain and kidney damage.
The most common way that kids get lead poisoning is from lead-based paint. This type of paint was used in many U.S. homes until the late 1970s, when the government banned the manufacturing of paint containing lead.
Kids also can come into contact with lead through:
Some children have no signs of being sick. Others may have symptoms like:
A simple blood test can diagnose lead poisoning. Doctors get the blood by pricking the finger or putting a small needle into a vein. Blood tests to check for lead in the body should be done when kids are 1 and 2 years old.
Treatment for lead poisoning depends on how much lead is in the blood. The most important part of treatment is preventing more exposure to lead. A child with a small amount of lead often can be treated easily. As the body naturally gets rid of the lead, the level of lead in the blood falls.
Kids with severe cases and extremely high lead levels in their blood will be hospitalized to get a medicine called a chelator. The chelator attaches to the lead and makes the lead weaker so the body can get rid of it naturally.
Calcium, iron, and vitamin C are important parts of a healthy diet and also help to decrease the amount of lead the body absorbs. Your doctor may recommend your child take supplements if there’s not enough in his or her diet.
To help protect your kids from lead poisoning by:
Find out what the experts have to say.
Knowing what’s “normal” and what’s not in speech and language development can help you figure out if you should be concerned or if your child is right on schedule.
Toys are a fun and important part of any child’s development. And there’s plenty you can do to make sure all toys are safe.
Kids with APD can’t process what they hear as other kids do, because their ears and brain don’t fully coordinate. But early diagnosis and therapy can improve their hearing skills.
Some young kids have the eating disorder pica, which is characterized by cravings to eat nonfood items.
In babies and young kids whose brains are still developing, even a small amount of lead can cause learning disabilities and behavioral problems. A lead test can determine the amount of lead in the blood.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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